After completing one of the worst seasons in NBA history, going 7-59 (a .106 winning percentage) with the worst scoring margin in NBA history, there is no guarantee that the 2012-13 version of the team will be an improvement.
The reality in the Queen City is that last season could have been worse, and perhaps the lockout-shortened season took mercy on them. In a normal 82-game schedule, Coach Paul Silas would have had to explain much more than 59 losses.
With Silas gone, GM Rich Cho and President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins have been actively and repeatedly included in the NBA rumor mill this summer. After gaining the rights to the No. 2 pick in the draft, national media was thick with stories of the Bobcats exploring countless trade possibilities for the pick.
Yet the team held its ground, keeping the pick and choosing Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Leading up to the draft, much had been said of Cho’s innovative, high-tech, nine-level scouting database for both potential draftees as well as free agents. They are acting on their research and gaining attention, if not results.
After trading forward Corey Maggette and his expiring contract to the Pistons for guard Ben Gordon and a future first-round pick, as well as drafting Kidd-Gilchrist and Vanderbilt’s Jeff Taylor, the organization blazed into the free-agent signing period with potential trades and offer sheets.
But the rumor that drew the most attention was that former North Carolina and Providence High star Antawn Jamison had “definite interest” in joining the Bobcats. Jamison said this to local Charlotte media: ”It’s been a dream of mine to play here” (via CBS Charlotte).
The Bobcats' dream—as well as the city of Charlotte's—is to get basketball players who rate high in their system and who want to be there. Jamison signed with the Lakers on July 16, citing his agent’s reminder about “will to win" (via IAMAGM.com).
Was his agent implying that Jamison—or any other player—would show less of a “will to win” if they chose to play for the Bobcats?
Perhaps he was speaking of a desire to win—and win now. Neither Cho nor owner Michael Jordan appear to expect many wins during the 2012-13 season, but are counting on development towards a playoff-caliber roster.
Expectations are low nationally, attendance sags at home games and your owner will continue to garner more attention than you ever will as a player. Who in the League would want to be a part of this?
Goran Dragic, sent an offer sheet by the Bobcats, chose less money to not play in Charlotte. Kris Humphries, rumored to possibly end up in Charlotte, re-signed with New Jersey. Stacey Augmon, offered a spot on Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap’s staff, decided to stay at UNLV.
The common thread thus far this summer with the Bobcats is the rumors aren’t panning out for the better. So how much of it is just smoke? And if they are just that—rumors—are they intentional? Does Cho have a keen insight as to what is going to work out before it does?
Perhaps when the smoke clears from this summer’s haze of failed signings, the NBA will know the true value of this young and short-tenured GM.